Version française quand j’aurai plus d’internet
After we leave Phunder, the road is « somewhat paved » and we are riding at a good clip when very abruptly the road ends. I think back of the familiar forest sign « County road ends » and laugh. No such sign here. Just holes, rocks and sand. From the corner of my eye, I can tell that the landscape is out of this world but the road is so back that I can’t look. The valley opens up onto high plateau with glacier covered mountains on all sides. It is stupendous. I stop to fully appreciate the view and that’s when I realize there is nobody in my rear view mirror.
I ride back to find Moin and Mike looking at Mike’s rear tire. It’s flat. Very flat.
The mechanic shop ten minutes away is closed: we prepare to repair it ourselves. It’s exciting to get to use all the tools we’ve brought along in our bags. Apparently we don’t know Pakistan yet: « ourselves » encompasses the masses! First a bike drives by, two guys smile, wave, stop, get off and light cigarettes. Many donkeys go by. Both directions. Laden with huge loads. Followed by herders. Another bike arrives, comes to a screeching halt, both guys jump off, rally the other two and all four men tackle the tire repair at once. With Moin, Mike and me, that’s seven! Oh and there is another dude too. No idea where he came from. It’s going well —- a bit too many cooks in the kitchen maybe but it’s fun. There is a problem with a corroded valve stem nut and it takes all of us to come up with a variety of solutions. Finally the tire and tube are off. The second set of two guys ask if we can manage from here on? We can certainly stay if you need but we have a long way to go ourselves until we reach Gilgit. We wave them on and the four of us finish the job. Great team work. And as is often the case, the silver lining was well worth the inconvenience.